Seven years ago, he wrote by hand, "Gebran is not dead, An-Nahar Continues." Now that Ghassan Tueni is gone, what is An-Nahar supposed to write? How will it dare announce the death of a man who stayed strong and never lost his faith, despite all of the calamities and hardships he faced?
The patient in room 929 at the American University Hospital passed away after 38 days. It was the last round of his painstaking struggles with fate; let us not mention his illnesses.
Tueni was the guru of the Lebanese and Arab press, the dean of An-Nahar and the teacher of successive generations. He started working at the paper at an early age, riding it to glory, making words and ideas spark.
He served as a member of parliament, a minister, an ambassador, a diplomat and an ultimate person of reference for presidents, regimes and policies. He served during Lebanon's glorious era, during great events and at the time of grand figures.
He shouted, "Let my people live!" before the United Nations Security Council, and he was the first to rightfully state that [the civil war] was "the war of others on the Lebanese land." Ghassan Tueni is gone after three years of fighting an illness that deprived him of his ability to write his magical Monday editorials. Ghassan's pen was so attached to him, and Ghassan cherished it back. In his heart, he placed his pen right after his loved ones.
He was a legendary and faithful man who went through painful and bitter experiences that no other man would have been able to take. His daughter Nayla and his wife Nadia succumbed to illness. His second son, Makram, passed away in a tragic car accident. On top of all of this, his eldest son Gebran was savagely assassinated.
This faithful man remained courageous even when fate attacked his tired body, denying him the ability to speak or write for the last three years. His studies, pieces, books and articles in An-Nahar were a source of knowledge for Lebanon and the Arab world.
He left behind 86 years of an amazing humanitarian epic and an amalgam of glory, and he is one of the last titans of an era that is indelibly imprinted with his name and signature. This current era shall never forget his journalistic skills, his ideas, his diplomacy and his exceptional policy, all coupled with a humanitarian and personal experience that no man other than Ghassan Tueni could have faced.
An-Nahar does not have the power to announce the death of its master and the master of the press. However, it pledges to his spirit, as well as to the heritage he left for the Lebanese and Arab generations, to preserve this heritage and remain faithful to all the values and the professional, national and humanitarian standards that he leaves behind. An-Nahar pledges to remain loyal to every letter and every word he wrote.
An-Nahar continues. It will derive faith and courage from its master in order to defend his heritage and the heritage of all the martyrs who will be delighted with Ghassan Tueni’s presence among them.
Grandpa Ghassan, Give my Regards to Gebran!
By Nayla Tueni
Grandpa, remember when my father was killed and we were still in Paris, you told me: "I am not asking you to be a man, but to meet your dad's expectations." Today, the responsibility and expectations have become greater. You passed away before the break of dawn, and all I can think about are your expectations. I stood despite my pain and went to An-Nahar to write and bid you farewell.
Grandpa, I will not bewail your death, nor will I mourn you. No words can define you. In your presence or resounding absence, letters and words fall short of expressing any sorrow for you, the master of the pen.
Grandpa, you were the eldest of the family, you were all we had left after Gebran ... where are you going today? Why are you leaving me and my sisters alone? Are you going to see grandma Nadia, aunt Nayla, uncle Makram or Gebran, the only son you had left?
Are you going to see them, to have the family gathered there in the arms of the saints? Are you looking at us from above? Do you miss each other? Don't you care about how much we, the ones left here, long for you?
Grandpa, I send you my love and regards, today, every day and whenever dawn breaks. I shall miss your pen, your ideas, your mind, your literature and your big heart that had been repeatedly broken!
Regards and love from the family, from An-Nahar — our other family — from the diplomacy that followed your example and from the cedars' country that you defended; the country of the Cedar Revolution, the country of martyrs and saints.
Grandpa Ghassan, do you have any idea what you are doing to us today? You are leaving Shadia alone, and you are orphaning my sisters and me. We are left with no father, no grandfather, no uncle and no aunt.
Grandpa, you are resting in peace but you still carry concerns, and I shall not increase your burden, nor shall I give you responsibilities. You endured what no man or rock could have. And you were the rock of the mountain.
Grandpa, I long for you and the whole family. When you see Gebran, tell him we miss him. My little Gebran and I will always visit both of you in Mar Mitr Cemetery. I will pray for both of you, and please pray with me for Lebanon, so that the early morning sun [reference to An-Nahar] can touch its face every single day.
Be sure that my sisters, Shadia, my uncle Marwan, the whole family and I will always be united together.
Grandpa Ghassan, give my regards to Gebran!